by Dennis Hancock
Kung Fu Fighting / More Kung Fu Fighting
Published by Slugfest Games
Designed by Geoff Bottone, Colleen Skadl, and Clifford Bohm
99-card deck, 6 glass markers, 6 character cards, and rulesheet
$19.95 (original game)
What comes to mind when I say "Kung Fu"? Maybe your first thought is
Bruce Lee, or perhaps Carl Douglas? Maybe even a little Kung Fu
Theater or Kung Fu Hustle. Combine it all together and you've
got 'Crazy-Kung-Fu-Death-Match-Chuck-Norris' chops upside the head...
never mind the fact that Chuck Norris doesn't practice Kung Fu. Nor do I. I mean, let's
face it, I'm a gamer and, like most gamers... I'm not the Kung Fu
practicing sort, I'll just leave it at that. What's the next best thing?
How about a card game that lets me pretend to know Kung Fu! SWEET! I
give you Kung Fu Fighting!
Kung Fu Fighting is a game for 2-6 players and, like most other
non-collectible card games on the market, everything you need to play
comes in the one box. Inside each box you will find a 99-card deck, 6
glass chi markers, and 6 character cards. I have had the opportunity to
play two versions of this game. One was an older version that had heavy
paper character cards and a heavy cardstock deck of attack cards. I was
glad to see the newer version I purchased had heavier stock,
plastic-coated cards. Overall, the quality of materials in the newer
version is good and should stand up to all but the most rough-and-tumble
of game players. The quality of art on each card is pretty good as well
– each card has an illustration of the action or item described. Some
players may find the lack of any significant color on the cards and
illustrations to be a bit of a turnoff. Each card is a muted yellow with
the pictures in different shades of browns or black. This isn't really
an issue to me at all, but some may find it a little drab in appearance.
I'm not really a big fan of the mini-novel rulebooks that some games
come with. Kung Fu Fighting has simple rules that even I could
pick up in one pass; the rules are literally five small 4" x 6" pages.
There is no dilly-dallying around; they just get straight into the rules
on how to play. Depending on how fast you read, you could be up and
playing your first game within ten minutes. Speaking of time, the first
game I ever played lasted about seven minutes with 3 players. Some
people might not like such an ultra short game, I would just like to add
that I have also played a game as long as 45 minutes with 4 players, it
all depends on how the cards play. I would estimate the average game
time of about 30 minutes for 3-4 players with longer games possible as
more players are added.
Kung Fu Fighting is a fast playing card game that bills its self
as 'Martial Arts Brawling, Hong Kong Cinema Style', where your goal is
to be the last one standing. Each player starts off with a character
card and a glass bead to mark their current level of 'Chi' or inner
strength. Once your Chi hits zero, your head hits the floor. The
character cards also have spaces for your stance and a weapon card –
each player is allowed to have one of each. Stances provide you with
bonuses to your attacks or defense, but beware, young grasshopper, they
also provide you a weakness towards one other stance. Weapons also
provide you with some measure of attack or defense, for example; the
staff provides 2 damage and 1 defense versus the table or chair, while
the fan does 0 damage but provides 3 defense.
Let's talk attacks for a second. Attacks are made up of one of five
actions: a punch, kick, trip, throw, or weapon. Weapon attacks can only
be played if you have a weapon currently played on your character card.
The fun doesn't lie within the base attacks, though; the real fun is
tied in with the attack enhancement cards. What are attack enhancements,
you ask? Exactly what they sound like – they are played on basic attacks
and cause extra damage. The best part is that they can be chained
together with as many as you have in your combat hand. Your only
limitation is you cannot duplicate enhancements. You could play a punch
and then enhance that with 'Spinning', 'Running up the Wall', 'Flying',
'Wild', and 'Fast' attack enhancements. That isn't all, though. Can't
decide which player you want to attack? Expand your options by playing a
'Split Attack' card on them, and suddenly two players have to fend off
your fists of fury! Trips and throws also have the added benefit of
making their recipient lose their active weapon or stance cards.
With all those fists and feet flying around, you might be wondering how
a martial arts master is supposed to last the first round... DEFENSE!
Defense is simple, it doesn't matter how many attack enhancements
somebody plays on that kick aimed at your head, if you have a 'Block
Kick' card you have blocked it. Pretty simple but there is one
exception. 'When Done Right None Can Defend' is the mother of all attack
enhancements. When this card is played on an attack it cannot be blocked
unless you play the 'Your Kung Fu is Weak' or 'Your Kung Fu is No Match
Now with 20% more Kung Fu!
The creators of Kung Fu Fighting have also released More Kung
Fu Fighting, an expansion for the original game. This expansion
provides players with new stances, new weapons, new attack enhancements,
stance enhancements, weapon enhancements, finishing moves, team play,
and Archetypes. Now you can wield that 'Legendary' 'Demon Possessed'
'Ladder' 'Of the Ancients' that you have always wanted, or use that
'Drunken Stance' 'of the Master'. Regain chi when you knock somebody
'Through the Wall', 'Down the Stairs', or 'Out the Window'. Play as the
'Mysterious Stranger' or the 'Jade Princess' – each archetype has its
own special abilities. Defend the honor of your friends in Team Play
where you can share weapons or combine stances for powerful attacks.
Overall, I like Kung Fu Fighting. Even non-gamers will find it
entertaining, though after a couple of games it can get a bit
repetitive. The More Kung Fu Fighting expansion goes a long way
to eliminate much of the repetitive aspect of the game. With that said,
I think the game is well worth its cost and I recommend it to all gamers
who like non-collectible card games. My past experience has shown that
whenever I've introduced somebody to this game, they have purchased it
I give this game 4 boots to the head out of 5.